Dudley's empty River Island store to become bingo and slot machine centre

A bingo and slot machine centre will take over the former River Island store unit in Dudley town centre.

Planners at Dudley Council approved proposals for Cashino Gaming Ltd to take over the Grade II listed shop building in High Street.

The centre will see six new jobs created and will operate 24 hours a day, offering bingo and low stake slot machines.

River Island closed in March 2020 when the Covid pandemic broke out and the company chose not to reopen the branch.

The former River Island store on Dudley High Street

The applicants said the adult gaming centre (AGC) will breathe new life into the empty unit and generate extra footfall to the area which will boost other businesses.

Agents Planning Potential said: “The (River Island) store closed its doors in March 2020 following the UK Government’s decision to implement wide-ranging restrictions to mitigate Covid-19.

“In July 2020, restrictions were eased and uses including pubs, shops and hairdressers were allowed to reopen.

“However, River Island chose to close its store on the High Street permanently.

Investment

“The unit is currently contributing nothing to the local economy and is having a detrimental impact.

“This represents much-needed inward investment at a time when the economic environment is extremely challenging with vacancy rates rising across town centres.

“Adult gaming centres generate footfall and propensity for linked trips and the site’s location within the town centre is conducive.

“The site is in a prominent location and these proposals will breathe a new lease of life into the ground floor. An operating AGC will also enhance the attractiveness of the wider area and potentially lead to further investment.

“Potential occupiers such as Cashino Gaming Ltd who are willing to invest must be supported, particularly given the current economic climate and well documented struggles and challenges that centres are facing.”

Planning officer James Mead said: “It is considered that the proposal would not have any detrimental impact on the vitality and viability of the centre.

“Furthermore, local residents would not be detrimentally affected by the proposal.”

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